John Wilkes was a political journalist, politician and Member of Parliament whose opposition to the dominant political elite in the 1760s and 1770s provoked several major riots in the city of London. His successful campaign against the use of general arrest warrants, and for the right of newspapers to report parliamentary debates, advanced the causes of civil rights and democratic accountability. His use of popular campaigning to put pressure on resistant oligarchs changed the nature of political opposition in England.

John Wilkes was born on 17 October 1725 in St John's Square, Clerkenwell, then an area on the margins of the city of London and typically inhabited by religious dissenters and small manufacturers. John’s …

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Citation:
Clark, Robert. "John Wilkes". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 26 February 2014
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=13320, accessed 21 August 2014.]